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Circumcision undermines child's human rights

(03/20/11 4:00am)

The letter "Educate yourself on facts about circumcision," published on Thursday, March 10, brought up some novel points that I believe deserve consideration. The argument was made that circumcision should not be considered "mutilation." Considering that I might have been overreacting, I looked up the definition of "genital mutilation." Various dictionaries I used list the term as the act of cutting all or some of the genital organs. I don't see how you can not use the term "mutilation" to describe circumcision.

Society must consider itself in technology talks

(03/09/11 5:00am)

Technology itself cannot be defined in 140 characters or even 750 words. So I'll give it a college try — technology is the development of any digital or physical tool made by humans to make life and work easier. It pertains to entertainment, medicine creation, the Internet, mass transportation and countless other areas of life. We should appreciate the times we live in because we are starting to embrace and utilize technology that we never could have imagined in elementary school. Needless to say, I'm a huge fan.

Educate yourself on facts about circumcision

(03/09/11 5:00am)

Male circumcision is a controversial topic in that there is no legal or scientific clarity revealing the absolute benefits and drawbacks of male circumcision. It is an Abrahamic tradition practiced for centuries due to religion and culture. The letter published in yesterday's The Daily Targum titled, "Circumcision, genital mutilation must end," was so preposterous I felt compelled to respond. The author says, "The act of circumcision for religious purposes is a very thinly veiled excuse to mutilate a baby's genitals," as if Muslims and Jews have ulterior motives for circumcision. The author used the word mutilate to describe circumcision when all the procedure does is remove foreskin. Should we call tummy tucks mutilation as well? The author only lists the downsides of circumcision while completely ignoring the benefits. Numerous scientific articles cite the positives of circumcision, including how it reduced the rate of HIV infection among heterosexual men in South Africa by 60 percent.

Circumcision, genital mutilation must end

(03/08/11 5:00am)

Male circumcision is a deplorable act with an archaic founding and should not be allowed to continue. Jews believe in circumcision because of God's discussion with Abraham in Genesis. Abraham — who by the way was 100-years-old at the time — was told that any uncircumcised child will have his soul "cut off from his people" (Genesis 17:14). Similarly, Passage 16:123 in the Quran states that Allah wanted the Prophet Muhammad to live according to Ibrahim's faith. Noting that Ibrahim circumcised himself — with an axe, by the way — the prophet decided to continue the tradition. The fact that Jews, Muslims and followers of other religions believe in circumcision does not mean that it should be accepted. Some pious followers believe that AIDS was created to punished homosexuals or that women who have extramarital sex should be stoned to death. Just because these beliefs come from a religious background does not mean that they should be tolerated. Religion is a poor excuse for genital mutilation.

End attendance policies for classes

(03/06/11 5:00am)

Before the enactment of hunting laws, the Maasai tribe of Kenya and northern Tanzania sent boys as young as 12-years-old out into the wilderness to slaughter a lion with only a spear in hand and a thundering heartbeat. It was a right of passage. Now look at college students, most between the ages of 18 and 24, still being monitored under juvenile class attendance policies. I was naïve in believing that college was a place where the emergence of adulthood dissolved pesky paternalism. This realization gives me the uneasy feeling that college is less about education and more about playing by the rules. But if the rules are inefficient and burdensome, then they must be reformed.

Stand together for peace, despite differences

(03/02/11 5:00am)

We are Bahaa Hashem, Will Eastman, and Jane Vorkunova of the Rutgers Shalom/Salaam e-board. Our organization aims to bridge the gap between Jews, Arabs and Muslims through community service, cultural exchange and mutual respect. Rutgers Shalom/Salaam is a non-political organization that focuses on bringing people who might otherwise never speak and encouraging them to work together toward common purposes. We believe that by being united by shared causes, like charity, we are able to better see the humanity in one another and take a step forward rather than backward.

Journalists must respect privacy of others

(03/02/11 5:00am)

There are places where you have no expectation of privacy, such as a public sidewalk or a crowded bus. There are security cameras throughout the campus that are probably being viewed at this moment by some person you have never met. But surely you can feel solitude when in a bathroom or shower stall. According to certain members of the media, though, this is apparently public space, too.

Christie promotes education growth

(03/01/11 5:00am)

At a time in history when the American economy has been stagnant, our leaders must make tough decisions in all aspects of society. As a University student studying economics and history, it is relieving to me to have received an important e-mail message on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011, from President Richard L. McCormick addressing his opinions on the 2011-2012 New Jersey State Budget Proposal. The message was sent to all University students and staff explaining the implications the budget proposal will have on the University community. McCormick starts his address by stating Gov. Chris Christie's proposal will reduce spending by 2.6 percent and follows with this statement: "Among the cuts are reductions in most of the executive departments of state government. It is gratifying that, against this backdrop, the governor counted funding for higher education as a ‘core priority.'"

Build connections to oppose tyranny

(02/28/11 5:00am)

I attended a lecture recently in which Cornel West, a longtime champion for the civil rights movement, offered a compelling definition of courage: "The great enabling virtue that allows one tot realize other virtues like love, hope and faith." He continued to say that courage is the ability to "muster the will to overcome the fear … so that fear does not have the last word or so that fear pushes one into conformity, complacency or cowardice."

Take democracy back from all special interests

(02/24/11 5:00am)

One of the most convincing arguments against public-sector unions I've heard relies on the principle that private-sector unions and public-sector unions are inherently different creatures. It goes something like this: Private-sector unions provide individual, private-sector workers a means of organizing to represent their interests, in order to even the otherwise overwhelming odds at the negotiating table with powerful executives. Public-sector unions, on the other hand, deal with a government monopoly. A lot of the same pressures that help workers and managers in the private sector come to a mutually beneficial agreement simply don't exist in the public sector. As a result, public-sector unions act on behalf of government employees in a capacity much more akin to lobbyist groups than negotiators, advocating for an ever-growing share of government revenue and an almost absurd level of job security for its constituents, without regard to the efficiency or effectiveness of government as a whole. And since the taxpayers have no lobby to represent them at the negotiating table — unlike in the private sector, where business executives are capable of representing themselves — the end result is that public unions give government employees disproportionate power in determining the allocation of government revenue. In a democracy, voters should have more control over such things than any one interest group. Thus, public unions themselves are abhorrent to democracy, and need to be checked or eliminated altogether.

Fight UN Human Rights Council's inaction

(02/24/11 5:00am)

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) — established in 2006, the name alone invokes a sense of justice, of doing the right thing for all people, regardless of race or gender. As the abhorrent killing of innocent protesters continues in Libya, with a death toll breaching the thousands and the quelling of recent protests and basic freedoms continuing in Iran, one would expect this council to enact resolutions condemning these acts. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay's challenged the council — the council is independent of her — on Tuesday to live up to its calling and take urgent action to help stop bloodshed.

Use natural resources in moderation to help planet

(02/21/11 5:00am)

It is absolutely impossible to deny that our planet's ecosystems are being threatened by the global harvesting of natural resources. There have been movies made and countless statistics published in support of the existence of this energy crisis. The natural world as we know it is governed by the transformation of energy. We use energy to heat and cool our homes, to run our vehicles, to light our buildings and to run factories that create products we have the luxury of purchasing. The root of this energy crisis is the usage of natural resources such as coal, petroleum, oil and timber to meet our energy demands faster than these resources can be replaced by nature. Also, humans' use of such resources increases the greenhouse effect on the Earth, heating the atmosphere and disrupting ecosystems that have been around for years before our existence. Obviously, if this situation continues on a steady pace — even without an increase in resource use because of the demand of an ever-increasing world population — the Earth's resources will be on track to an inevitable total depletion. Many countries, such as the United States and China, which have enough capital to begin switching to an alternative and renewable energy solution, have been taking initiative to find ways to convert our main energy sources to renewable ones. The main sources that cannot be depleted in the foreseeable future are geothermal energy, solar energy, wave energy and wind energy. The problem is we are still dependent on nonrenewable energy sources.

Receive self-fulfillment through serving community

(02/17/11 5:00am)

Through this esteemed newspaper, The Daily Targum, we are honored to express our concerns about the increasing number of people affected by hunger and homelessness. We are the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group (NJPIRG) Student Chapters, the on-campus nonprofit organization. We have partnered with Feeding America to provide emergency food assistance throughout the country.

Inform readers on all aspects of issue

(02/15/11 5:00am)

In response to the letter published in The Daily Targum on Sunday entitled "Establish peaceful, respectful discourse on campus," the author gave examples of justice that BAKA: Students United for Middle Eastern Justice stands for put forth by the Charter of the United Nations, International Court of Justice and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There are many facts omitted by the author, which I think are important for readers to be fully informed about the issues in the Middle East.

Choose discussion over senseless argumentation

(02/14/11 5:00am)

After reading about the disputes between Rutgers Hillel and BAKA: Students United for Middle Eastern Justice in The Daily Targum over the past few weeks, I propose the following question: Instead of arguing about the faults of each group's mission and actions, why can't the groups come together and try to make a peaceful resolution on campus?

U. must engage in competitive bidding processes

(02/14/11 5:00am)

Academy Bus, the vendor which has provided the New Brunswick/Piscatway campuses with bus service for the last 10 years, will be replaced next year by another outside vendor First Transit of Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom, if University President Richard L. McCormick and others in the University administration are allowed to continue their race to the bottom.

Work together to bring about justice, understanding

(02/13/11 5:00am)

Many people on campus have heard about the ongoing conflict involving student groups and the situation in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine. So much information has been circulated, and many students have been left feeling angry and confused. The struggle for justice, peace and home is complicated and for some, very personal. I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with both sides on campus, and I have seen the heart and passion that every person involved holds.